England Opens Mass Vaccination Sites As COVID-19 Spike Fears Spread

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to patients and staff at a mass vaccination centre at Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol, southwest England on January 11, 2021. (Photo by Eddie MULHOLLAND / POOL / AFP)

 

Seven mass coronavirus vaccination sites opened across England on Monday as the government raced to dose millions of people while a new strain of the disease runs rampant across the country.

The sites include football stadiums and a horse racing course, and are located in cities including Bristol, London, Newcastle and Manchester.

They are to vaccinate thousands per week and several more sites are expected to follow, according to the National Health Service (NHS) in England.

“I feel very relieved,” said Moira Edwards, 88, after receiving her first vaccination at Epsom Downs Racecourse, south of London, which is more famous for the Derby.

“I feel this is the way back. I can’t understand anybody not wanting to have it,” she added.

The mainly elderly recipients of the jab, some of whom used walkers, sticks or were pushed in wheelchairs to get to the centre, were given “I’ve had my Covid vaccination” stickers.

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Hospitals and pharmacies are set to begin offering the vaccine later this week, with the government hoping to have doses available for 12 million of England’s 56 million population by mid-February.

A further three million are being targeted by the same date in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Priority is being given to the elderly, care home residents and workers, the clinically extremely vulnerable, and health and social care staff.

Some 2.4 million people have already been vaccinated across the UK since the roll-out began of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab on December 8, according to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.

Britain has since approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna jabs. The government has drafted in logistics experts from the army to help in the inoculation drive.

– ‘Worst weeks’ –

Britain is grappling with its worst outbreak of the disease since it hit the country early last year.

The record case rates and daily death toll are being blamed on a new, more transmissible strain, which has piled pressure on the NHS, leading to warnings of shortages of critical care beds.

The state-run NHS risks being overwhelmed and the country is in its third lockdown until at least mid-February, with predictions the restrictions could last even longer.

In Northern Ireland, health chiefs said the province’s hospitals were under intense pressure, and two health trusts had to draft in off-duty staff to alleviate pressure due the spike in cases.

“The next few weeks are going to be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of numbers into the NHS,” England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty told BBC television on Monday.

“What we need to do, before the vaccines have had their effect… is we need to really double down” on observing lockdown measures, he added.

Britain on Saturday said it had recorded over three million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began last year.

On Friday, it reported a record 1,325 deaths over a 24-hour period of people who tested positive for the virus, with fears that the fatalities could remain consistently high for weeks.

The full death toll now stands at more than 80,000, the highest in Europe.

At Leatherhead, near Epsom, bodies were being stored in a temporary 1,400-capacity mortuary because there was no space at local hospitals.

The local council said 170 bodies, more than half of which had been Covid fatalities, were being held at the makeshift facility, but the county would be in “real difficulty” if numbers rose further.

Zahawi urged the public to follow the lockdown rules, which include school closures, that some have criticised for not being strict enough.

“In supermarkets, we need to make sure people actually wear masks and follow the one-way system rule,” he told Sky News.

“We don’t want to go any tougher because this is a pretty tough lockdown, but what we need is people to behave as if they’ve got the virus so we can bring this virus under control whilst we vaccinate.”

UK Warned COVID-19 Test Shortages Harming Health System

(FILES) In this file photo Dr. Rhonda Flores looks at protein samples at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)

 

Healthcare services are being jeopardised by lack of access to coronavirus testing, hospital bosses in England warned on Tuesday.

NHS Providers, which represents the heads of hospital trusts in the state-run National Health Service, said there were “current capacity problems with the testing regime”.

Its chief executive Chris Hopson said the government should prioritise health workers, as shortages of tests had caused a slew of staff absences in major cities.

Patients were also struggling to get tests, compounding delays within the NHS that have worsened since the outbreak began.

“We have now got cases where patients who should be being treated, we can’t treat them because they can’t get access to a test,” he told Sky News television in an interview.

“So, for them that’s a real problem.”

Hopson spoke after LBC radio reported on Monday that no coronavirus tests were available in any of the 10 worst hotspots in England.

The revelation followed weekend reports of a backlog of 185,000 swab tests, and that the system was so stretched samples were being sent to labs in Italy and Germany.

The UK government has blamed surging demand for the situation and promised increased capacity while urging people only to get tested if they are showing symptoms.

Interior minister Priti Patel denied claims of acute shortages in England’s hotspots, saying mobile testing units were boosting capacity in areas under local lockdowns.

“Clearly there is much more work that needs to be undertaken with Public Health England and the actual public health bodies in those particular local areas,” she told BBC radio on Tuesday.

Britain, which has been the worst-hit country in Europe registering nearly 42,000 deaths, has seen a resurgence in the virus in recent weeks.

The country recorded more than 3,000 new cases on three consecutive days over the weekend, for the first time since May.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged to have a “world-beating” testing and tracing operation in place by June.

But alongside the faltering testing regime, the tracing system is still failing to reach the required number of people to work effectively.

Meanwhile, a much-touted smartphone app to help trace people is yet to launch in England.

Scotland, which runs health from the devolved administration in Edinburgh, launched an app last week using technology developed by Apple and Google.

AFP

VIDEO: NHS Saved Me From Coronavirus, Says Boris Johnson

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference at 10 Downing Street in London on March 12, 2020. SIMON DAWSON / POOL / AFP

 

 

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has thanked the National Health Service (NHS) for saving him from COVID-19.

The British leader praised the service in a video on Sunday — his first message after recovering from coronavirus.

Johnson, 55, was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital after he was admitted for treatment for COVID-19 and spent three days in intensive care.

The excited Prime Minister said he could not find the words to express his gratitude to the health workers.

“It is hard to find the words to express my debt to the NHS for saving my life,” he said in the five-minute video posted on his Twitter handle.

Johnson added, “The efforts of millions of people across this country to stay home are worth it. Together we will overcome this challenge, as we have overcome so many challenges in the past.

“The reason, in the end, my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.”

Johnson will not be resuming work immediately based on the advice from the healthcare workers.

Watch the video shared by the British leader below:

Uk Hospitals Hit By Large-Scale Cyberattack

A large-scale cyberattack has plunged the UK’s health service into chaos.

Computers in hospitals and clinics across the country shut down on Friday, forcing patients to be turned away.

IT systems and telephone networks appear to have been targeted, with some hospitals now operating on an emergency-only basis.

The “ransomware” computer attack demands $300 per computer in electronic currency in order to free files from encryption.

A message appearing on screens across the National Health Service warns time is running out to make payment.
Patients have reported being turned away, while some are stuck at hospital without access to discharge data.

NHS England have confirmed they are aware of the problem and say they will release details soon.

Reuters

Studies Propose ‘Skunk-like Cannabis’ Increases Risk Of Psychosis

cannabisStudy shows that 24 per cent of new psychosis cases is as a result of smoking potent cannabis (Skunk).

King’s College, London’s research carried out by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience on 780 persons, suggests that the risk of psychosis develops more, as a result of high consumption of potent cannabis (skunk).

A spokesperson for the research group said the report underlines why cannabis is illegal.

Scientists found the risk of psychosis was five times higher for those who use it regularly compared to non-users.

The scientists also concluded that the use of hash, a milder form of the drug, was not associated with increasing the risk of psychosis.

Psychosis refers to delusions or hallucinations that can be present in certain psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Dr Marta Di Forti, lead author on the research, had said that, “compared with those who had never tried cannabis, users of high potency skunk-like cannabis had a threefold increase in risk of psychosis, adding that the result of the test shows the risk in the use of Cannabis depends on the frequency of use and the content,

Dr Di Forti in a radio programme said the availability of skunk-like cannabis was becoming more widespread.

Robin Murray, Professor of Psychiatric Research at King’s, also commented: “This paper suggests that we could prevent almost one quarter of cases of psychosis if no-one smoked high potency cannabis, adding that it could save young patients a lot of suffering and the NHS a lot of money.”